World Poetry Day 2016 was celebrated with great enthusiasm. Subhadrika Sen, talks to some youngsters and highlights their ways of remembering poetry
Just as the array of bright, vibrant colours in Holi do,
Cultures from here and beyond join together to celebrate World Poetry Day.
Each vivid and striking colour represents a culture’s poetry
Beautiful on its own yet richer together.
Everyone ends up being splattered with the same colours
But in different patterns
Just how various people can perceive alternative meanings from a single poem.
– Arooj Shah (University of Salford)
World Poetry Day commemorates the most elite form of literature- poetry. Poetry is interpretations. It is revelations. It is the understanding of reality without the aid of the visual. It instigates in the writer, reader and listener, creativity and imagination. Poetry is the reflection of the deepest secrets of the heart and soul. Poetry is an art and yet a science in its own construction and perception. It is thus justifiable that a day be kept for honouring poetry and poets internationally.
While by World Poetry Day, one would instantly relate to reading poems by famous poets and holding conferences in large galleries about poetry and its future; one must not forget the power of the youth and the emerging Social Media Platform.
2016 saw the coming together of many ideas that had poetry in its core but branched out to different platforms in order to accommodate poetry and beyond.
Twitter was filled with hash tags of #PayWithAPoem and #PoetryForAChange. These tags were mostly brought out by Coffee Joints and Pubs like Starbucks and Berlin Bicycle café. The objective was to write a hand-written poem in exchange of a cup of coffee. These, subtle initiatives would promote Poetry amongst the thousands of coffee drinkers, who, would steal a few moments from their busy life and ponder about poetry. This apart, millions of people took to Twitter posting screen- shots of self -composed poems and those of their favourite poets under the hash tags #InternationalPoetryDay and #WorldPoetryDay.
Asian poet, author and lyricist Gulzaar presented Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee with his new book of poems. His latest work is a two volume set wherein he translated the famous poems of Indian Poet Rabindranath Tagore. Titled ‘Gulzaar Translates Tagore’, the volumes contain translations of poems outside Gitanjali. The eminent poet believes that Tagore is not restricted to his most famous work; but far beyond and thus those need to be highlighted as well.
Interesting to note is the fact that the youth has joined in the battle to promote poetry and to slightly push themselves forward in doing so. Blogging has emerged as the newest tool to campaign for anything under the sun. Thus, youngsters have taken to blog posts in order to opinionate on such matters.
Swarnava Ghosh, a young blogger at swarnavaghosh.wordpress.com has explored everyday sights in the streets of Kolkata and linked it with poetry in his post ‘The Poetry in the Streets’. The essence of his post can be summed up in the following lines “Many wander about the streets of the city perhaps wondering what these structures of bricks and stones and a bit of dust all meant. These people, my friends, are just words. And, there are certain poets too who roam about in the same street just to put these words in verse.” Through an intricate web of photographs and writings, Swarnava beautifully justifies the essence of his thoughts about poetry.
Garima Chopra, author of the blog musingsofamuggleblog.wordpress.com posts self-composed poetry. The subjects of her poetry vary from ‘Spring Time’ to ‘Just Another Afternoon’. This only highlights the fact that this art is alive in the hearts of the youngsters even today.
Arooj Shah, a student of the University of Salford in Manchester, paid tribute to one of her favourite poets, Allama Iqbal. Officially named as the National Poet of Pakistan, Iqbal has been widely credited for his works in Urdu and Persian languages. His, was a name showered with various epithets and loved world over. Some of his famous works are Armughan-e-Hijaz (1938), Zabur-i-Ajam (1927) and Zarb-i Kalim (1936).
Contemporary youth has been tempted towards poetry due to a wide range of poetry forums operating in the world. The nature of these forums are wide- local, regional, national, global and even digital. Poetry Paradigm is one such local poetry forums operating in Kolkata, India. Started in the year 2014, it is mostly a youth based forum. The organisation has been credited to hold small meet-ups now and then in cafes and restaurants holding open mic poetry recitations. They have also been part of various literature festivals like the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, TATA Steel Kolkata Literary Meet and Workshops at the British Council. Poetry Paradigm is unique in its own way because it promotes poetry in various languages other than English such as German and Spanish. Thus, such forums have proved that poetry is a global art. It is beyond geographical boundaries and language barriers. It is a communication of the mind and soul which needs expressions and emotions and not a certain language for putting it across to the world.